Split by Paige Webb


I clicked keys.  What are you working on, he said.  I drew sentences he dimly heard, nodding slow rhythm, reaching at dresser, culling contact from lid. I stopped typing, changed chair from screen to him—now pulling up flannel pajamas; now shuffling covers over waist. Shouldn’t we get married, I said, over folded knees.  He slipped above sheets, ambled and kissed my forehead: Let’s.  We suspended under a looking moment. I flipped back to Word; he, to the bed and Conan.


Your trills of longing hover a drum without beat

Touching toward inaudible, yet there

A plucking game, fingers know the notes beneath

the brain—Know patterns to be played with,

tickled and bent into pause and strike


Hesitating into a mall diamond store; florescent lights cut window panes and stone scratches.  He wavering, drunk with laughing gas, brushed a hand up down the aisle—like a cereal shelf—pick, he said.  sure?  Eyes fought lost focus, he staggered hand in air: of course.  I pointed to a piece of silver and flash; he scribbled in a checkbook. Neither wanted to be there long.


A minor hits unsettled brink in major teasing comfort,

Stilled jolts burn inside

Night implodes:

In bed reading your words, expecting letters to bend beyond body.

How beautiful a body.


A diamond: between worn clothes, inside crevice of closet walls, over motley folders, under quick throws to later.  I slide open hackberry wood to pull a shirt out, change, then close the door.  And never asks why I shed it, and never asks where it is.


Your eyes teach lucid terror of dull convenience:

Of blanks and ums of talk

Of enduring together while hands weave manual day

Of moving with industry.

You crumple beams and boards in hands swallowing—

Yet pleasure tumbles after long:

A Band-Aid tears a moment’s stay.

Paige Webb teaches English and Film at The Charles School at Ohio Dominican University. Her work has appeared in Gesture Magazine. She and her son live in Granville, Ohio.